Russia's United Nations ambassador hinted his country may accept a Security Council resolution to investigate suspected chemical attacks in Syria, while also suggesting that a deadly assault over the weekend either never happened or was orchestrated by the U.S.
Opposition activists said 40 people died in Saturday night's chemical attack in the town of Douma, the last remaining rebel bastion in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, blaming Assad's forces.
The Syrian government and Russian Federation, a close ally of the Bashar Assad regime, have denied a chemical attack occurred.
Syria's government and its ally Russian Federation have denied the chemical attack took place, but rescuers and medics have said dozens of people, including many women and children, were killed.
"Russia has trashed the credibility of the council", she said. "It is a travesty".
A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members, which are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the draft resolution was not impartial or independent since it would allow Russian Federation to veto investigators and staff for the new body - and to block its findings.
Mr Nebenzia accused the United States of trying to mislead the worldwide community and said it is "taking one more step toward confrontation". He said, "We have a lot of options militarily, and we'll be letting you know pretty soon".
Trump was to meet late in the day with senior national security aides, and no action was "off the table", the president said.
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Both Trump and his defense secretary Jim Mattis abruptly canceled upcoming travel plans, as the USS Donald Cook - a guided-missile destroyer - moved to within striking range of Syria. The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, was circulated ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting. "History will record that on this day, Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people".
In a statement, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said a fact-finding mission was "preparing to deploy to Syria shortly", though it did not give a more precise timetable on when the inspectors would arrive.
Syrian government forces were on high alert and taking precautionary measures Tuesday at military positions across the country amid fears of a USA strike in the aftermath of an apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
Syrian Army soldiers on the eastern outskirts of Douma.
Even residents of the capital were bracing themselves. But, to me, there's not much of a doubt.
And while Haley - along with the United Kingdom and French ambassadors - walked out of the chambers prior to his remarks, Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, took the opportunity to slam the U.S. when it was his turn to speak before the council.
Moscow has cautioned the US not to launch a military attack. Moscow slammed the joint United Nations and OPCW inquiry as flawed. The strikes were limited to destroying aircraft and Syrian forces that could be linked to the chemical attack.
He went on to say that air strikes yesterday on an airfield in Homs Province was deeply troubling, and that "fake news" from Douma was aimed at drawing attention away from the case of the British spy Sergei Skripal.
As U.S. officials consider whether and how to respond, they are looking at what type of chemical agent might have been used. Russian Federation and Syria said there was no evidence that a gas attack had taken place.